Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Pedro Zamora

The youngest of eight children, Zamora was born near Havana, Cuba. With his parents and youngest siblings, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift and settled near Miami. He became sexually active in high school and, as a senior, discovered he was HIV-positive. An honors student, he decided to skip college to become a full-time AIDS activist and educator. A front-page interview in the Wall Street Journal and interviews on the Oprah Winfrey and Geraldo Rivera shows gave him a national profile. On July 12, 1993, Zamora testified before Congress and demanded funding for AIDS prevention efforts targeted toward young men of color. Zamora auditioned successfully for the popular MTV reality show, The Real World, and became the first man with HIV to appear in a television series. He died on November 11, 1994, the day after the last episode of his Real World season aired. Zamora’s visibility as a young gay man of color with AIDS had a major impact on AIDS activism and prevention efforts in the U.S.